Write a song? I just about abandoned this insane quest right there...

The Daily Create on Jan. 7, 2015 was particularly convoluted, and, indeed, only two of us actually posted a completed project. Here’s the wording:

Long May You Run

Neil Young once wrote a song about a car he once owned. Make a song about an old vehicle that you remember fondly and include images of it in the video.

To break that challenge down into its component parts:
1. Write an original song
2. About a car you once owned
3. Record the song
4. Make a music video out of it.

As a frame of reference for what a lunatic challenge this is, let us review the description of Daily Creates as posted on the website:

The Daily Create provides a space for regular practice of spontaneous creativity through challenges published every day. Each assignment should take no more than 15-20 minutes. There are no registrations, no prizes, just a community of people producing art daily. Developed as part of the ds106 open course on digital storytelling, TDC is open to anyone who wants a regular dose of creative exercises.

Rewind: You DID read 15-20 minutes daily, did you not?

Just for giggles, let me walk you through my process:

1. Ideas about old cars I have known and loved–check. I remembered the green Subaru Forester I dumped in a creek during a March storm in 2004

2. Write a song? I just about abandoned this insane quest right there, but my subconscious was hopping around full throttle with those Ever Ready batteries I gave it and reminded me of a cool workshop I went to years ago on the Mexican ballad style called the “corrido.” We wrote and sang little corridos that I still remember.

I let my fingers do the walking and came up with a Smithsonian site called Corridos Sin Fronteras that walks you through the structure of a corrido. Music is provided, and you can write in a template then click on the music and sing along with your song.

That process of writing and recording probably took an hour and a half, and it also took me as far out of my creativity comfort range as I have been in a while. That alone was reason enough to persist. However, eventually I had rehearsed behind closed doors enough that I could play the music and sing the song on my Mac Book Pro while recording into Sound Cloud on my iPad.

3. The next problem was not so much creative as technical; I couldn’t figure out how to download my Sound Cloud recording into iMovie on my iPad. I researched it on the web and finally bought a specialized browser called iCab for $1.99 that did the trick most niftily.

Oh wait. I’m not retired. I suited up and taught three classes, 75 students, everything from summary writing to how to use Google Docs to how to start using an iPad to what a digital story is…

I came home after 6:00 pm to a wonderful dinner and a glass of wine with the inestimable Peter Jensen.

7:00 pm and I was back at it. I had the sound track down in iMovie. From there it was a matter of visiting my Flickr collection of videos, Ganking (ganking: to yank photos off Google) a couple of (legal) Subaru shots, then doing some pretty rough video editing.

Sign my name and load that sucker up onto YouTube with the correct tags to ensure it would appear on the Daily Create website. Done and done! Total time: two and a half hours start to finish plus a full day’s work.

And I’m not even saying it is much of a final product, except that it still gives me fits of the giggles. I hope you smile, too.


Sandy Brown Jensen

I am a retired writing instructor and faculty tech specialist from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. I still teach and am also a photographer, poet, blogger and digital storyteller (short videos).

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  • Yes, giggling. Laurence came in from the cold just in time to hear it too. He, too, giggling. “Great song.”

  • A lovely insight into your day as well as a fun song. You worked hard on this one – even rehearsal time! I think the intent was more for a quick improvisation with iPhone video on and upload to YT 🙂 David can make wonderful noise on that guitar in no time at all and forgets those of us who are more musically challenged. I love the sites your found on your quest and your determination to get it done and done well in spite of a busy life.

  • I love it! I am in DS106 Bootcamp and still getting my story legs. Your post is helpful in reality of this adventure as well as great work! Thanks. It will help in getting over the hump of being “public”.

  • Having been away from home for a month (mostly sans wifi), I’m just catching up on your daily creates. I loved this one, partly because it really stretched you. Thank you for sharing your process so eloquently.

  • What a hoot! A delight to share in your process and giggle with you. As our friend, Lillian Cecil, once said to me; “My dear, I think your talents lie in other directions” (referring to my audition with her for the choir). I joined a dance group instead which required a lot of chanting, yelling, swirling, swinging, making faces, but no delicate singing.

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Sandy Brown Jensen

I am a retired writing instructor and faculty tech specialist from Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon. I still teach and am also a photographer, poet, blogger and digital storyteller (short videos).

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